TALLADEGA, Ala. – Greg Ives nearly wasn’t around to enjoy his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory.
Dale Earnhardt offered to fly his crew chief home Sunday morning from Talladega Superspeedway after Ives’ 8-year-old daughter, Payton, broke her arm Sunday.
“She’s my biggest fan, my biggest critic as well,’’ Ives said after Earnhardt won. “I asked her if she wanted me to come home. She said no, it was my job to go out there and try to win the race.’’
Ives said his daughter broke her arm when she fell out of a swing set while playing with friends.
Earnhardt said the break was near the elbow, adding “it looked scary,’’ but Ives said his daughter didn’t cry.
Ives said the situation gave him a perspective on what others go through.
“I talked to somebody this morning,’’ he said. “It was like, every time I feel like I’m helpless being on the road or away from my family, I think of all those military folks, men, women and children, all those families that are affected by the things that are out of our control. Those military families who sacrifice their time, whether it’s a month, six months, or years away from their families so we can do something like this.
“That helplessness only makes me show more appreciation for what we get to do every weekend as a great nation, how appreciative we need to be for them.’’